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If you’re staring at a shopping list, wondering how you’ll pay for everything up front, may we introduce you to layaway?
So, what is layaway?
It’s basically an agreement between customers and stores that allows customers to reserve an item before they’ve fully paid for it.
Customers pay a deposit, and stores hold the merchandise until the balance is paid. There’s no interest and no credit check, but sometimes there are service fees and cancellation fees.
Why would I want to try layaway?
Layaway is a great option for shoppers who don’t want to spend a big chunk of their budget in one trip or who can’t pay for an item outright. It’s also perfect for shoppers who want to avoid using (or overusing) credit cards.
You’ll also want to check out the various Buy Now, Pay Later options online.
Will layaway affect my credit?
No credit or income checks are needed to start a layaway account in a physical store, and no interest is charged on the items you’re making payments on.
Walmart Holiday Layaway is gone in 2021.
While Walmart layaway was popular with holiday shoppers for years, it’s changing. We felt the need to mention it here in case you were looking forward to it in 2021. Walmart has yet to announce any changes to layaway officially, but their website no longer has any layaway links. Instead, all the links that used to point to Walmart’s layaway page now point to their buy now, pay later page.
You can use Affirm as a payment method at Walmart.com or scan a barcode at checkout in store at Walmart. Affirm does charge interest, but you can spread your payments out 3-24 months. You also receive your items immediately before payment is received in full.
Walmart may also accept other payment methods that offer buy now, pay later services such as PayPal and Klarna. While these are not traditional layaway options, they still offer an option to pay installments to receive merchandise depending on your credit score.
Sears & Kmart Layaway works only for certain items.
Offer dates: Sears & Kmart layaway is available all year.
Down Payment: $10 (or in some cases 10%) for an 8- or 12-week plan (each includes a non-refundable service fee of $5-$10). The longer 12-week plan is for purchases of $300 or more at Kmart and $400 or more at Sears.
Cancellation Fee: $15 for the 8-week plan and $25 for the 12-week plan. Layaways may be cancelled 7 days after payments are due.
Online layaway? Yes. (Select “Pay with Layaway” at checkout.)
Restrictions: You can only use layaway on items that say “Layaway Eligible” on the tag, or if you’re shopping online, look on the product page just above delivery and pickup options.
Easiest way to save: Use store coupons on layaway items!
TIP: Some stores will allow the use of coupons when you’re putting something on layaway. Be sure to give your coupons to the store associate when you activate your layaway plan so that they’ll be reflected in the amount due.
Burlington Coat Factory Layaway gives you bonus cash for signing up!
Offer dates: All year — and they’ve been doing layaway for more than 45 years. Burlington will often offer $5 bonus cash for signing up!
Down Payment: 20% on the first day and an additional 20% 14 days after purchase. (The balance must be paid within 60 days, and there’s a $5 service fee.)
Cancellation Fee: $10. Any refunds of layaway deposits will be given in the form of a gift card.
Online Layaway?: No.
Restrictions: No food products.
Big Lots Layaway is called “price hold.”
Big Lots doesn’t have traditional layaway, but what they do have is “Price Hold,” which has similarities and is worth mentioning.
Price Hold is only available for furniture at Big Lots. In order for an item to be eligible for Price Hold, the item must be out of stock in your local store. If your store manager chooses, they can place a Price Hold on the item while you wait for the item to come in (this can sometimes take weeks). You may keep making payments until the item arrives, but you must pay the balance in full and pick up your item.
Big Lots also has a lease-to-own program.
Offer Dates: All Year
Down Payment: 10% (and some locations may charge a $5 fee)
Cancellation Fee: $5
Online Layaway Available: No.
Restrictions: Price Hold is only done in Big Lots stores with Furniture and Home departments.
There are also a growing number of online “Buy Now, Pay Later” options.
There are TONS of “Buy Now, Pay Later” options out there — we dedicated an entire article to this — that allow you to get your item immediately and then make four payments every two weeks.
That really helps for big-ticket purchases, unexpected expenses, and yes — the holidays.
Like with layaway, you can still do returns, avoid interest payments, and not totally tank your bank account.